2:00PM Water Cooler 11/24/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I am still recovering. This Water Cooler is mostly Covid. So you have something to talk about with the family!

Bird Song of the Day

Western House-Martin, Herdade da Mitra–Labor, Évora, Évora, Portugal. “Delichon urbicum with Passer domesticus and Turdus merula in the background.”

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“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles


“Texas businesses say abortion ban costs state nearly $15 billion a year” [KXAN]. ” Forty Texas companies and business leaders are entering the fight against Texas’ abortion ban, filing a brief with the Texas Supreme Court that argues the “ambiguity” in the law’s medical exceptions cost the state an estimated $14.5 billion in lost revenue every year. Austin-based dating app giant Bumble is leading the effort, submitting an amicus brief ahead of the high court’s arguments in Zurawski v. Texas…. Dozens of other companies signed onto the brief, including South by Southwest, Zilker Properties, ATX Television Festival, and Central Presbyterian Church. The brief cites research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) to arrive at their claim that Texas’ abortion ban costs the state nearly $15 billion annually. They assert that the ban translates to women earning less, taking more time off work, and leaving the workforce.”


Less than a year to go!

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Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

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“New York City Mayor Eric Adams Accused of Sexual Assault in Legal Filing (Exclusive)” [The Messenger]. “The plaintiff in the case, a woman whose name is being withheld by The Messenger due to the nature of the allegation, filed a summons Wednesday night in state Supreme Court in Manhattan under the Adult Survivors Act that names the Big Apple Democrat as a defendant…. ‘Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by Defendant Eric Adams in New York, New York in 1993 while they both worked for the City of New York,’ the summons alleges. In New York civil court, a plaintiff can file a summons with notice to begin a legal action — followed by a full complaint laying out the claims. The summons is just three pages and does not reveal any detail about the alleged assault.”

“Democrats who swept Moms For Liberty off school board fight superintendent’s $700,000 exit deal” [Politics]. “A Pennsylvania school board that banned books, Pride flags and transgender athletes slipped a last-minute item into their final meeting before leaving office, hastily awarding a $700,000 exit package to the superintendent who supported their agenda. But the Democratic majority that swept the conservative Moms For Liberty slate out of office hopes to block the unusual — they say illegal — payout and bring calm to the Central Bucks School District, whose affluent suburbs and bucolic farms near Philadelphia have been roiled by infighting since the 2020 pandemic…. The district, with about 17,000 students in 23 schools, has spent $1.5 million on legal and public relations fees amid competing lawsuits, discrimination complaints and investigations in the past two years, including a pending suit over its suspension of a middle school teacher who supported LGBTQ+ and other marginalized students.”


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Look for the Helpers

Optimism (1):

From rural PA.

Optimism (2):

From Canada. FWIW, I’m starting to have the same sense. Of course, this could be my well-known Polyanna-esque disposition. Readers?


Union nurses know what’s up:

A mask does not have to look like a medical appliance:

So when are we going to see mask colorways from 3M?


“Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness against post-covid-19 condition among 589 722 individuals in Sweden: population based cohort study” [BMJ]. From the Discussion: “In this large register based cohort study including 589 722 residents from the two largest regions of Sweden, we found a strong association between vaccination before first registered covid-19 and a reduced risk of receiving a diagnosis of [post-covid-19 condition (PCC)]. In the study population, unvaccinated individuals had an almost fourfold higher proportion of PCC diagnoses compared with those who were vaccinated before infection (1.4% v 0.4%). We found a vaccine effectiveness against PCC of 58% for any dose within the primary vaccination series (ie, the first two doses and the first booster dose administered within the recommended schedule) given before a first registered infection. Vaccine effectiveness increased with each dose in the series: 21% for one dose, 59% for two doses, and 73% for three or more doses.” And: ” During the study period, the available vaccines in Sweden included BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), AZD1222 (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Ad26.COV2.S (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson), and NVX-CoV2373 (Novavax).” • PCC, like PASC, is yet another acronym for “Long Covid.”


Dysregulation because what else?

“China says no ‘unusual or novel pathogens’ detected in influenza-like illness upsurge: WHO [WION]. “‘Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations, including in Beijing and Liaoning, but only the aforementioned general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens,’ the WHO said in a statement.”

“Child hospitalizations soar across China one year after the lifting of Zero-COVID” [WSWS]. “It is not yet clear what pathogen or pathogens are responsible for the deluge of child hospitalizations, but government reports are stating that the primary infection spreading has been mycoplasma pneumoniae, as well as influenza, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. There is also speculation that the spike in hospitalizations could be attributable to the fact that mycoplasma pneumoniae is acquiring resistance to the macrolides class of antibiotics. In recent years, China has experienced a greater degree of antibiotic resistance than most countries, with reports that Zithromax, the most widely prescribed macrolide in the country, is now ineffective in up to 80 percent of children. Finally, there are also concerns that a dangerous novel pathogen or influenza, A/H9N2 (bird flu), could unknowingly be spreading due to inadequate public health surveillance in China. The possibility of H9N2 circulating was raised by Epiwatch, an Australia-based artificial intelligence-driven pandemic early warning system, which detected reports of possible H9N2 infections.” • Commentary:

Censorship and Propaganda

“‘Immunity debt’ is a misguided and dangerous concept” [Financial Times]. From 2022, still germane: “The discussion swirling around immunity debt shows how easy it is for a plausible-sounding theory to circulate as misinformation. In this case, misinformation risks promoting the unfounded assertion that infections are clinically beneficial to children, as well as feeding the revisionist narrative that Covid measures did more harm than good…. Professor Peter Openshaw, a respiratory doctor and immunologist who studies RSV and flu at Imperial College London, says the current ‘high and unseasonal’ RSV wave is assumed to be a result of lockdowns causing levels of immunity to wane in children, parents and carers, paving the way for a greater number of infections. But to frame this as an immunity debt, Openshaw warns, mistakenly suggests ‘that immunity is something we need to invest in, and that by protecting ourselves from infection we are building up a deficit that has ultimately to be repaid. This would not be a good message for public health: we would still have open sewers and be drinking from water contaminated with cholera if this idea were followed to its logical conclusion.’…. But there is no evidence that an individual is worse off for having avoided earlier infection. ‘Immunity debt as an individual concept is not recognised in immunology,’ Dunn-Walters says. ‘The immune system is not viewed as a muscle that has to be used all the time to be kept in shape and, if anything, the opposite is the case.’ The constant onslaught of common pathogens such as cytomegalovirus, she adds, means the immune system begins to malfunction and slacken with age. She rejects the idea that infection is somehow good for health, saying vaccination is a far safer way of building population immunity.” • I remember when I first encountered the term and tried to track it down; for me, the trail ended with some random doctor in the UK. First, the term was nowhere, then it was everywhere, exactly like “mild” when that doctor from South Africa called Omicron “mild.” I wish I could give an account of the spread of these defective, dangerous notions that soon become folk wisdom; not social media, I think. Anyhow, here is this false concept being deployed in China–

“China’s spike in respiratory diseases due to ‘immunity gap'” [Global Times]. • No, it’s really not. More examples:


I kept trying to find this before Thanksgiving, but here it is, too late:

Still, in time for Christmas!

“Polio is on the brink of eradication. Here’s how to keep it from coming back” [Nature]. “Only one human disease has so far been declared eradicated: smallpox, in 1980. Polio has been more complex, says David Heymann, who heads the WHO’s Containment Advisory Group. That’s because of a key difference: every smallpox infection produces symptoms, but polio can silently infect up to 1,000 people before causing a case of paralysis. The other snag is that polio can be caused not only by the wild virus, but also, in very rare cases, by the vaccines deployed to prevent it. Eradication means getting rid of both forms for good. The main tool is vaccination. Industrialized, polio-free countries use an inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), which doesn’t prevent the virus infecting the body and being shed in stools, but does protect against paralysis. Provided that immunization levels with IPV remain high and sanitation is good, a rogue poliovirus will probably peter out, according to Concepcion Estivariz, a polio researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. But because the inactivated vaccine can’t block transmission, children in at-risk countries still receive another type: an oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) that contains an attenuated form of the live virus, and can stop polio’s spread — which is crucial for eradication. It’s also cheaper and easier to deliver than IPV, which is administered by injection. The oral campaign has been hugely successful. Since 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) estimates it has prevented 20 million cases of polio paralysis.” • Crazy talk. We need to keep infecting children with polio to toughen up their immune systems.

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

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Elite Maleficence

“Offline: ‘Laughing at the Italians'” [The Lancet]. “A former minister for health in England wrote to me that “The COVID-19 inquiry will make us the laughing stock in the eyes of the world.” But it is worse than that. The level of criminal incompetence exposed by recent witnesses to the UK COVID-19 Inquiry, chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett, has proven that many, if not most, of over 230 000 deaths were preventable. Amid the claims of extreme misogyny, profanity, and chaos that litter the evidence is a story of complete government breakdown.” • Read the whole thing for the horrifying detail. Of course, the Brits are pikers. We’ve killed over a million!

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Lambert here: Lots of new results Wednesday, most up, starting with wastewater. (The one I worry about the most is ER visits, since I think that data is hard to game, and who wants to go to the ER, anyhow?) I think it’s time to send the relatives those clippings you saved on brain damage (also, of course, the 2022 clippings: here, here. And the 2020 one). And break out the Corsi-Rosenthal boxes at the family gathering!

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, November 20:

Lambert here: Cases up, just in time for Thanksgiving (and tinfoil hat time: This is the, er, inflection point CDC was trying to conceal when they gave the contract to Verily and didn’t ensure a seamless transition).

Regional data:



NOT UPDATED From CDC, November 11:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: HV.1, EG.5 a strong second, with FL.1.15.1 and XBB. trailing. No BA.2.86 (although that has showed up in CDC’s airport testing). Still a Bouillabaisse…

From CDC, October 28:

Lambert here: I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, November 18:

Lambert here: Slight increases in some age groups, conforming to wastewater data. Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator until Verily gets its house in order (and working class-centric, since I would doubt the upper crust goes to the ER).

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


Bellwether New York City, data as of November 23:

Definitely up. New York state as a whole looks more like a spike. (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. November 11:

Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, November 20:

0.5%. Decline arrested. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED From Cleveland Clinic, November 11:

Lambert here: Increase (with backward revision; guess they thought it was over). I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, October 30:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, October 30:


Total: 1,183,379 – 1,183,227 = 152 (152 * 365 = 55,480 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED The Economist, November 18:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

There are no officals statistics of interest today.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 24 at 1:02:01 PM ET.

The Gallery

Les Nabis: Painting “is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order”:

Be that is it may, this makes me think of a mother looking in on her child, from the child’s perspective.

Class Warfare

“Greyhound stations are leaving downtowns after sale to notorious investment firm” [Axios]. “Greyhound bus stations nationwide are closing and relocating outside central business districts after being acquired by an investment firm that rose to infamy for its acquisition and gutting of American newspapers. Greyhound has long been the brand most closely associated with intercity bus travel in the United States. Its stations, often architecturally and culturally significant, occupy prime downtown real estate that is considered ripe for commercial and residential development. But Greyhound’s passengers, who tend to be younger and lower-income than other travelers, now must wait at improvised outdoor pickup locations or travel to less convenient locations to catch their bus.”

“The Origins and Significance of “Identity Economics'” [Institute for New Economic Thinking]. From 2021, still germane. Rachel Kranton: “So again, just to talk about how identity economics can understand the phenomena that you’re describing, a standard model would say, people are interested in information, they’re interested in information that will help them make the correct decision. That’s what standard model would do. When we introduce identity, you are a person who might be looking for information that confirms your understanding of who you are, not necessarily what to buy at the grocery store or whether or not you should be getting a vaccine. You’re looking for information, or you’re more receptive to information that helps you maintain a sense of who you are and then who you are within your community. So let’s get back to that a second, is that what we get in these multiple equilibrium models if we were to expand it, is that there’s one set of people who are wearing black shirts, as we all seem to be doing on the screen, there could be another set of people who all wearing white shirts. And then the black shirt people don’t like the white shirt people. And then you can have the reinforcing of these divisions within the society. And to go one step further than that is what identity economics model would tell us to do, is look at how people talk about those divisions. And again in a standard model, what people say about things, like people just like black shirts or people just like white shirts, but in our understanding, no, it’s actually meaningful what people say about wearing a white shirt or wearing a black shirt. And so the whole discussion about tastes and about preferences, that becomes part of economics. And of course it drives a huge amount of economic activity, is the discussion over what is correct, what’s incorrect, the economic activity is just people activity. Then people do things, they take actions to exert effort to influence the way other people think about things and the tastes that they adopt, the things that they buy and so on, which then of course then become part of who they are and part of these different communities and how they understand themselves.” • Dammit, another book to read.

News of the Wired

“How Gödel’s Proof Works” [Quanta]. • You’ll like this article if this article is the sort of article you like.

“The Charming Doodles Charles Darwin’s Children Left All Over the Manuscript of ‘On the Origin of Species'” [The Marginalian]. “For other little-known facets of Darwin’s humanity, see the story of his battle with anxiety, his brilliant strategy for handling critics, and his beautiful letter of appreciation to his best friend and greatest champion, then revisit his contemporary John Ruskin on how drawing helps you see the world more clearly.” • This is my favorite:

There are a lot more!

“A Sort-of-Common, Very Strange Cat Trick” [The Atlantic]. “Although the data are sparse, in one limited study from 1986 that surveyed pet owners, nearly 16 percent of cats reportedly fetched. Delgado, who herself has three fetching cats—Ruby, Coriander, and Professor Scribbles—is now poring over a newer and much larger data set, not yet published, that suggests that the retrieving percentage might be higher. (The methodology of the 1980s study may have also been wanting: ‘Fetch’ was listed as one of several ‘tricks’ that owners reported in their cats, alongside ‘interesting behavior’ and ‘understand everything.’)” Seems legit. More: “Evolutionarily speaking, that sort of checks out. Fetching is just a sequence of four behaviors: looking, chasing, grab-biting, and returning. Versions of the first three are already built into predators’ classic hunting repertoire, says Kathryn Lord, an evolutionary biologist at the Broad Institute, who’s had her own fetching cat. Returning is perhaps the wild card.” And: “[W]hen [Calvin] explicitly invites me to play with him, I’m transported to a part of his universe that feels especially intimate. He is choosing to have fun but also expressing that he’d prefer to do it with me. When Calvin drops his toys at my feet, he is quite literally bringing me a gift.” • Awww!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From Carla:

Carla writes: “Along the Deschutes River near Tumwater Falls, Olympia, WA.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. David

    We had a part Siamese cat, Mitzvah, who was an expert fetcher.

    She would bring me a large rubber band or a plastic ring from the top of a milk jug, drop it on my lap, and we would play fetch for as long as she wanted to.

    Have had many cats over the years and Mitzvah was the only fetcher.

    1. Lee

      Back in the day when I had outdoor, free range cats they brought me critters they’d killed. It’s the thought that counts.

    2. Jen

      My first cat, a giant orange coon mix remains one of the best retrievers I’ve ever had. He was better than three out of the four golden retrievers that I’ve had over the years. Not sure he would have been keen to dive into a lake though.

      The cats I’ve had since all seem more interested in “normal” feline pursuits.

      1. MaggieNC

        Yes… Maine Coon cats.. Reading the post gave me a smile (thanks for that!!) .. One of our Maine Coon cats was a retriever. He loved to fetch the plastic ring (just one cut from a six pack of rings) ..I had to initiate the play with one toss… Maxwell would bring it back to me…drop it down in front of me… He was ready for several minutes of toss/retrieve/return… Oh my I miss that guy!

        1. Jen

          Mine would go until I signaled that the game was over by changing the direction of his retrieve. He was just the sweetest silliest boy. I still miss him.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      Our tortie (descended from a long line of barn cats) will drop a small toy in your lap or near your feet. If you ignore her, she often will wack you with her front paw… sometimes with claws out. Toss the toy, repeat.

      My son’s comment is “I had to get a cat to play fetch”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Another, albeit imperfect, proxy for COVID transmission data

      Thanks, good proxy.

      From the moderator’s pinned comment:

      Now go wash your hands.

      [bangs head on desk]

  2. Wukchumni

    It was all quiet on the western front, too quiet if you asked me, breaking the silence.

    The late caterfamilias of our hair’m could do a neat trick, if you held your fist outwards from your chest, he would jump up and give it a head bump.

    The rest of the dozen or so cats that have owned me only knew stupid human tricks, like getting us to do everything for them.

  3. Camelotkidd

    The Deschutes is a gem
    We’ve spent a lot of happy moments exploring it, mostly around Bend Oregon

    1. Yasha

      I live in Washington state and am very familiar (from family vacations) with the Deschutes river in eastern Oregon.

      I didn’t realize until today that there is another Deschutes river in Washington, the one that flows over Tumwater Falls (as seen on the label for Olympia Beer).

  4. JM

    The greyhound station in Madison WI used to be downtown, and while not great it was OK. Then about a decade ago it moved to a Park and Ride a couple miles out of town, with I think one or two busses that would go there up to once per hour. It was essentially unusable. Someone eventually realized that and it moved down to, or at least near, the student Union a couple years ago. I don’t live in Madison anymore, but I think it’s still just piggybacking on the Union.

    This would be before this investment group it seems, so this trend has been going for a while.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like you almost need ‘feeder’ buses connecting those towns and cities to where the new greyhound bus stations are now. Either that or tell those Greyhound passengers to get a lift, get a taxi or get an uber.

  5. Bsn

    Thanksgiving? Many thanks to all, both the NC staff and all the commenters – even if I disagree I sure learn a lot from “us”. Peace!

  6. Wukchumni

    Things have come to a pretty pass
    Our divorce from Roe v Wade is growing flat
    For you like this and the other
    While I go for this and that

    You say abortions, I say what about the apportions
    You go through the motions, i’m talking about notions
    Abortions, apportions, motions, notions
    Let’s call the whole thing off

    1. britzklieg

      Lol! …and I must commend you on the exceptionally broad range of your repertoire. I consider myself to be familiar with more tunes than most, as singing was my profession, and I am beyond impressed with your myriad choices from so many genres of song literature. Well done you.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thanks for the kudos…

        Never had all that much music talent aside from adjusting the bass & treble controls on the stereo, but boy do I have an ear for music, and can conjure up most anything from a good many genres to fit the refit.

    1. scott s.

      Birmingham AL built a nice Amtrak/bus terminal downtown to replace had been a pretty decrepit station. Though years ago the Birmingham Terminal Station for the railroads was an impressive structure.

  7. Sub-Boreal

    More on COVID from the indefatigable Andrew Nikiforuk in The Tyee:
    The 10 Chilling Laws of Pandemics


    Anyone who wants to understand why the decades that await us will not be normal needs to pause for a moment and consider the historic weight of pandemics. Although COVID remains a mild disruptor in the scheme of things (probably 30 million dead and counting in both confirmed and excess deaths), it probably didn’t kill enough able-bodied people to be taken seriously by a highly distracted technological society that pretends it can live outside the biosphere.

    At least that’s the conclusion of Brian Jenkins, the author of Plagues and Their Aftermath, and I think he is absolutely correct. In a recent Time essay, Jenkins, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp. global think tank, noted that the pandemic lacked visual impact and remained an abstraction for many people. As a society, we did not see first-hand the elderly die in long-term care centres or suffer quietly in their homes. Nor did we personally witness the anxious battles in intensive care units.

    “There was no modern equivalent of town criers calling ‘Bring out your dead’ accompanied by carts making the rounds to collect corpses,” writes Jenkins. “Had COVID led to bodies piled in the streets, shared dread might have outweighed our differences.”

    1. Jason Boxman

      COVID could well flare up and strain local hospital resources for the indeterminate future. It may even be part of a wave that started years ago with the emergence of two related but much more fatal viruses: SARS and MERS. Global trade, travel and population may have reached such high levels that they can sustain routine outbreaks of the coronavirus family for a long time to come.

      Interesting read, sadly even this dismisses that the Pandemic isn’t over. It’s constantly flaring up because it ain’t over. There will be a long tail of disease though. It’s going to play out over decades of increasing disability. Fun times.

      Maybe I’m too harsh.

      COVID, an airborne virus, will likely dog us as long as we tolerate dirty air in poorly ventilated homes, hospitals, workplaces, schools and public transport.

      Although the technosphere appears to be done with COVID, the pandemic is not done with us. It will haunt our politics, our health and our psyches for years to come. It will echo, reverberate and erode our tattered social fabric. Welcome to the Age of Discord.

    2. Tom Stone

      Covid certainly has the potential to mutate into something much more immediately deadly than it is now, but given what we know about immune dysregulation we will be seeing a lot more deaths from normal pathogens.
      One whole hell of a lot more.
      And nothing is being done because the right people are making a ton of money and the rest of humanity doesn’t matter.

  8. britzklieg

    re vaccine effectiveness (BMJ):

    “The limitations of the present study include that both PCC and the ICD-10 diagnosis code, U09.9, are relatively new and the code has not yet been validated in a Swedish setting. It is possible that PCC might be overdiagnosed as well as underdiagnosed, which could affect both the sensitivity and the specificity of PCC as an outcome measure. If this affects both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals fairly equally, this would lead to a non-differential misclassification of the outcome, which on average would result in some bias towards the null. However, we cannot fully rule out the possibility that vaccinated individuals are less likely than unvaccinated individuals to receive a PCC diagnosis owing to expectations from both patients and healthcare providers about the protective effect of vaccination.”

    1. IM Doc

      Yes, these types of studies are very very difficult to tease out confounding factors. Behaviors as described above, caregiver perception, patient perception, outright lying so as not to irritate the doctor, nutrition status, well being, exercise, just any number of things.

      This is why we are seeing these studies seemingly confirming biases on all sides and being mutually exclusive. It is very easy to wave the hand of statistics over any data set and make the dataset say whatever you would like it to say.

      For the same reason, long term diet studies are very very confounded and essentially worthless.

      1. britzklieg

        Thanks IM Doc for the clarifying response and for all your input over the years to keep us informed. You’ve given me a great deal of confidence to trust my instincts in questioning so much of how the covid pandemic has been and continues to be handled and reported on. I know how unsettled I’ve been by it all and you, as someone who faces it every day, have demonstrated genuine courage and clarity in the face of endless confusion and mismanagement from the self-appointed authorities hogging the public microphone. I am not a man of easy faith but I find your presence here, your experience and wisdom, a blessing.

  9. Jen

    Some data and anecdata on COVID from the granite state. The wastewater data from our small liberal arts college town is very different this fall. Over the past year, what we would see was a big spike when the students returned, then an equally precipitous drop, followed by several months of fiddling and diddling at low levels until they departed. Lather, rinse repeat.

    This fall: big spike when they returned, followed by a precipitous drop, followed one month later by another huge spike, with another precipitous drop, followed one month later by yet another huge spike. For some unfathomable reason, the NH public health folks will not be able to post the pre Thanksgiving sample data until after the horse has left the barn and is across the next county, but it will be interesting to see the next batch of reports on Monday.

    My Dad, having had his first round of COVID for his 89th birthday, then got his second round for his 90th at the end of October. He called me on Wednesday to say he had a cold and we would need to postpone our Thanksgiving get together. Told him to test, which he did after some hemming and hawing. Sure enough, he has COVID. One of his friends called him later in the day to say she was sick with something. He told her to test – yep, she has COVID.

    The listserv in the PMC enclave to my south is one of my COVID barometers. Over the past several weeks a restaurant closed for several days due to “illness,” a parish spaghetti dinner was cancelled due to “illness and people not recovering as quickly as they hoped,” and church services were cancelled due to “illness.”

    Stay safe out there.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Sympathies to you and your dad. I pointed out some water-coolers ago that based on the Walgreen’s map, the positivity spikes appeared to be trending higher. Immune system dysregulation is the major culprit here, but hoping for more of the optimism Lambert pointed out above to take hold. Orhers in my family circle are now hypochlorous-nebulizing. I hope you can help spread the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to those you care about. It’s all we got given the elite malfeasance of so called leadership in this country.

  10. Carolinian

    Think our downtown bus station is owned by the city and therefore safe. The “charming” Greyhound terminal was torn down years ago.

    Everything is getting torn down although some downtown dime stores are being recycled. Our three downtown movie theaters are long gone albeit with the fanciest one still existing behind locked doors. Even the theaters that aren’t downtown are mostly gone. The mall is sad. Where have you gone John Hughes 1980s? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. The library gets a new Madonna biography and nobody is interested enough to check it out.

    1. ambrit

      “The library gets a new Madonna biography and nobody is interested enough to check it out.”
      I’d say that that shows great promise for your town’s cultural and intellectual state!

  11. JBird4049

    >>>Read the whole thing for the horrifying detail. Of course, the Brits are pikers. We’ve killed over a million!

    Nah, the United States has five times their population. Considering that they (still) have a healthcare system unlike America’s wealth extraction system, maybe they are better at the statistical eugenics.

  12. Pat

    Today was the last day to file sexual assault civil suits in NY with the temporary statute of limitations expansion in New York. It wasn’t just Adams, there was a flurry of filings. We will have more information later but apparently the largest numbers were from incarceration situations.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Offline: “Laughing at the Italians”

    The British treatment of the Pandemic really was a cluster*** and Boris was at the heart of this. Seriously, the guy was infected so bad that he was flat on his back on a hospital bed with a plastic tube shoved up his gob and yet afterwards still went with herd immunity. That was the plan and he went on TV to say that they should let Covid just sweep through the population and ‘take it on the chin.’ That does not work with a Coronavirus but he and his government ignored that as it was all about the economy. If Labour was in power, I doubt that anything would have been different. Maybe when the war broke out in the Ukraine in early 2022 the UK government was kinda glad. That they could go all in on it and relegate the Pandemic to the past and forget about it. Unfortunately the Pandemic just stuck around chugging along and doing its work.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > Seriously, the guy was infected so bad that he was flat on his back on a hospital bed with a plastic tube shoved up his gob and yet afterwards still went with herd immunity.

      He should have expired on that bed while staring at this then pregnant partner Carrie Symonds’ face on an iPad.

      Part of me wants to believe that his death would have made a difference to the UK COVID response. The collective consciousness in Britain might have ascribed greater gravity to the pandemic with the loss of a Prime Minister.

      Then again … ::cough:: Sunak ::cough::

    2. JBird4049

      Didn’t Johnson say that the NHS saved his life?

      Well as Tom Stone @ 7:01 pm says that the right people are making from it. Maybe, Boris got a special bonus for shilling. As Tom also says, Covid could change into something a lot worse. Since it can damage or make dysfunctional the immune system, I have had nightmares about it becoming an aerial version of AIDS, which is more difficult to get, but can make dying really prolonged and unpleasant.

      I can can easily imagine that one of the extremely infectious versions of Covid changing into something that knocks out the T-cells completely, or heck, something else equally nefarious; it goes from a disease that you roll the dice each time you get it to instead putting a gun to one’s head and pulling the trigger. It would be worse than when smallpox first hit the Americas and certainly approach the worst of the Black Death. It all depends on random chance and the more people who are sick, the more likely something like this will happened, but some are benefiting from covid.

      At least some of the people making bank gambling on our deaths might be forced to cash their chips sooner than planned.

  14. steppenwolf fetchit

    …” From Canada. FWIW, I’m starting to have the same sense. Of course, this could be my well-known Polyanna-esque disposition. Readers? ” …

    Well, if others are beginning to notice the same thing, it shows that a marginal Counter-Covid counterculture is becoming a little bigger and a little less marginal. Being visibly-but-passively available for the newly covid-curious to ask questions might be a good way for now to keep growing the Counter-Covid counterculture. If the Counter-Covid counterculture were to eventually number 50 million or more people within the US for example, would it then become the basis for a power movement extending to counter some other bad things as well as countering covid?

  15. KidBoyMairena

    “Greyhound stations are leaving downtowns after sale to notorious investment firm”

    I’ve long worried that public libraries will suffer the same fate. They sit on incredible real estate within beautiful buildings in every city and town in every state in the US.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Beautiful buildings? That’s it then. They have to be destroyed and replaced with a Brutalist-style building that will house a bank, an insurance company or maybe condos for rich people.

      1. johnnyme

        Been there, done that here in Minneapolis — we had a gorgeous Romanesque public library built in 1889 (scroll down to see it) that was replaced with an awful “modern” building in 1961 which was then replaced by an equally awful building in 2006.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      I saw that in Cincinnatti when I wanted to get to an Acres USA conference in Covington, Kentucky. The Greyhound Station had been freshly exiled to a lonely place on the northernmost edge of Cincinnatti, furthest away from the river. I have no cell phone, hence no Uber-Lyft ability. Luckily, a young person wanting to get back to University of Cincinnatti let me co-ride and co-pay in his Uber with him.

      I then found my own way across the River. You would think the city fathers of Cincinnatti and Covington would at least set up super-easy-to-understand connections and routes between Cincinnatti and Covington so as to enhance the doing of business in both cities.

      Libraries would be a little harder to exile to the far wastelands because the land they are on is owned by the town, city, county, or whatever ( or am I wrong?) If I am right about who owns the land the library is on, the would-be landgrabbers would have to subvert the local government into overtly selling off the libraries and the land they were on one plot and lot at a time. Such a process would go slowly enough that others could see it happening and perhaps stop it before it gets too far.

      It sounds like something ALEC would like to legislate into mass existence. Gilead Republicans might well support such a concept. In cases where a school district itself owns the land and the library, the citizens would have to try and prevent a Gilean Republican infestation of their School Boards to prevent a Gilead Republican selloff of their School Board Overseen Library.

  16. steppenwolf fetchit

    For what it is worth, I don’t think the CPC ChinaGov Regime dropped anti-covid measures because “markets”.

    I think they dropped the measures because they did not want to see Million Man Riots breaking out all over China.

    1. Jorge

      I suspect both this and also that their pandemic modelling showed that it was going to explode soon anyway, so get just out ahead of the problem.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Fusion of trust, social media, and high school. Lambert might appreciate this 20+ tweet thread.

    We stripped away the old grown-up institutions and replaced them with social media platforms, whose only currency is popularity. Likes. It’s where the majority now get even their most serious news, and understanding on all things. To end then, this is the deepest cut. /21


  18. Tom Stone

    The AR15 is available in 45 different calibers and hundreds of different configurations, it turns out that Gene Stoner’s unique gas expansion system is inherently accurate.
    Les Baer has been selling AR15’s guaranteed to put 5 shots into 1/2″ or less at 100 yards for decades.

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